Former New Orleans officers sentenced in Katrina shootings
Punctuating what New Orleans' mayor called a "dark chapter" in his city's history, five former local police officers were sentenced Wednesday for their role in the Danziger Bridge shooting incident, which left two innocent people dead and four others seriously wounded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt handed down long sentences for four of the officers, ranging from 38 to 65 years in prison. The fifth, former Sgt. Arthur Kauffman -- who was not involved in the shootings, but was involved in an attempted cover-up -- received six years. ...
... Prosecutors alleged that Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius, and officers Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso, arrived on the bridge and fired on an unarmed family walking in search of food and supplies, killing a 17-year-old family friend, James Brissette, and wounding four others.
Minutes later, police shot at two brothers, Lance and Ronald Madison. Faulcon, witnesses said, shot the mentally disabled Ronald Madison in the back as he ran away. Bowen allegedly stomped and kicked him before he died.
As part of the cover-up, Lance Madison was falsely charged with eight counts of attempting to kill police officers, and was held in jail for three weeks. The Justice Department
subsequently launched a sweeping investigation of the New Orleans Police Department, determining that its officers often "show a lack of respect for the civil rights and dignity" of the people they serve. ...